Last month Silver Linings Playbook’s box office crossed the magic $100 million mark just a week or so before the little-dramedy-that-could arrived at the Academy Awards, where Jennifer Lawrence tripped her way into Oscar history with a Best Actress win. ”I was so, so, so, so happy,” director David O. Russell tells EW in a post-Oscars email. ”I was busting with pride — as was our entire Silver Linings Playbook cast and crew.” That’s quite the Hollywood ending for a comparatively small movie that cost an estimated $21 million and opened last November in just 367 theaters. The secret to its success? No doubt the marketing savvy of The Weinstein Company — which, in addition to SLP’s eight nominations this year, took home Best Picture in both 2011 and 2012 — played a part. But the constantly building word-of-mouth buzz that drove audiences to theaters and led to glowing reviews was largely due to the chemistry between Lawrence and lead actor Bradley Cooper, not to mention Russell’s warm and witty script and direction. ”David is a magician,” exec producer Harvey Weinstein says in an email. ”He creates a family atmosphere…. I’ve made a lot of movies, and I’ve never met a cast that loves each other more.”
So it makes sense that Cooper and Lawrence have signed on for Russell’s next film, an as-yet-untitled drama that just began preproduction about an FBI sting operation in the 1970s. (It will costar another pair of Russell’s repeat collaborators: Christian Bale and Amy Adams.) ”Bradley and Jennifer are both generous, open, and warm actors who will be playing very different roles than we’ve seen either do before,” promises Russell.
As for Lawrence — who forgot to mention Russell at the podium on Oscar night, a slipup she told EW was a ”brain fart” — she has already committed to a third David O. Russell movie, The Ends of the Earth, about an oil baron, written by another 2013 Oscar winner, screenwriter Chris Terrio (Argo). ”I’m the biggest David O. Russell fan,” Lawrence, whose next Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire, comes out Nov. 22, previously told EW. ”What I’ve always loved about David is what he can do with actors — I’m just blown away by what he does with his casts. All of my favorite performances from actors are in his movies.”
However, if you’re one of the SLP devotees looking for a quick Cooper-Lawrence fix, you won’t have to wait long. The duo have already wrapped Serena, a Depression-era drama from Danish director Susanne Bier (2007’s Things We Lost in the Fire), which is due in theaters later this year. (The film is based on the best-selling 2008 novel by Ron Rash.) ”It was this very intense, dark, romantic movie, and we laughed our way through the whole thing,” Cooper gushed to EW. ”We had a ball.” He credits all that Silver Lining dancing for their onscreen alchemy. ”We got to know each other on a real base level right away. I think the best rehearsal any actors could do who are going to do a movie together would be to learn a dance routine together.” And, as Lawrence joked about their growing number of collaborations, ”the plan now is to maybe have a little box set.”
Call us eternal optimists (like any good Philadelphia sports fan), but we’re expecting even greater things from the Playbook MVPs. As Russell says, ”When you work with the same actors, you build a trust, a confidence, and a shorthand that make you feel you can possibly go deep again.”
The Girl’s Guide to Winning with Grace
Heads up, Hathaway! Jennifer Lawrence could teach a class on turning an Oscar win into a full-on charm offensive.
Tip 1: Trip on your way to the podium
Not only will hotties like Hugh Jackman and Bradley Cooper leap to your aid, you’ll also have the perfect opener for your acceptance speech: ”You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell.”
Tip 2: Stay humble: even as you cash in
When Billy Bush showed Lawrence the glamorous pictures from her just-published Miss Dior campaign, she seemed shocked. ”That doesn’t look like me at all,” she said, adding, ”I love Photoshop.”
Tip 3: Get right back to work
Preferably on a bajillion-dollar franchise. Within 48 hours of winning, Lawrence hit the hair salon to go back to Katniss brunet, then jetted to Hawaii for Catching Fire reshoots. She’s smokin’ (wink, wink).